More thoughts from Zero Waste Week

Since our last blog post, some more thoughts on zero waste week have come in:

Nuala Marshall, 2nd Year at Somerville College

Earlier this term I participated in Zero Waste Week, and was surprised by how much I learnt, and shocked by how much needs to change!

Firstly, a disclaimer – I have to admit that I did not entirely stick to Zero Waste during the week. However, the main way I went Zero Waste was in preparing the community meal for our Christian Union on Wednesday. I decided to cook a vegetable curry for the 13 or so members of the CU who were coming, since the recipe looked fairly simple. Tesco (for all its faults) is very good on having lots of loose fruit and vegetables, so I stocked up on veggies, some (recyclable) tins of coconut milk and jars of passata, and set to work. I must say it took rather longer than anticipated – around 2.5 hours rather than the recipe’s promised 1 hour – but it tasted delicious, and the effort was worth it for the amount of food I could produce without sending anything to landfill. It was also super cheap (£14 for 16 servings, including ice cream – in a recyclable tub – for dessert)!

Another big thing I noticed during the week was just how much in supermarkets is wrapped in plastic. In particular, I have now started regularly buying loose apples, because they’re absolutely enormous and not in unnecessary packaging! However, in order to buy fairtrade bananas in Tesco, one has to get them in a plastic bag, which shows that going Zero Waste as yet won’t work for all my fruit buying.

The plastic which seemed to cover almost every item in Tesco seemed to me completely disgraceful. There are plenty of environmentally friendly packaging options out there, from recyclable cardboard to biodegradable bags or wood. This option is often not notably more expensive, either, so there’s really no excuse for big supermarkets not to get involved with trying to make our country a bit greener.

I can’t say I’ve gone completely Zero Waste since taking part in the week; but it’s definitely opened my eyes to the enormity of the issue, and changed some of my shopping habits for the better, (hopefully) permanently.